Charter drawn up to improve construction labour practices

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
20 January 2020

A charter has been developed to improve working practices across the supply chain in the construction sector.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School created the People Matter Charter to help firms “up and down the supply chain” tackle issues including modern slavery and exploitation, poor diversity practices, and skills shortages.

The charter is made up of eight commitments that signatories and their supply chain “should be able to evidence”. These are: equality, diversity and inclusion; skills and training, workforce culture, living wage, due diligence, labour legal requirements, labour exploitation, and payments.

So far 24 organisations have signed up and the charter will be officially launched in Birmingham on Tuesday 21 January.

The charter is divided into “requirements” and “intents”. Requirements are applicable to all and “should be able to be demonstrated from day one upon signing the charter”, while intents apply throughout the supply chain to varying degrees and should show “continuous improvement with a view towards best practice”.

Neil Mant, supply chain and procurement director at Vinci Construction, said: “The People Matter Charter is an excellent way to formalise our commitment to how we engage with people at all levels.

“It gives us a framework that we can adopt and filter through our supply chain, demonstrating our intent as well as setting out some formal requirements.

“This is a movement that will commit businesses to behave responsibly and value all people that work in our industry.”

Helen Carter, lead consultant at Action Sustainability and Supply Chain Sustainability School labour group lead, said: “Attracting talent, combating exploitation, increasing diversity and improving skills are essential for the sustainability of our industry.

“They are also key building blocks for any business looking to grow and thrive. People are the industry’s greatest asset and the charter has been written with them in mind.”

Samantha Ireland, head of business change at the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, said: “Helping businesses understand how to identify labour exploitation within their supply chains and comply with legislation around the national minimum wage and holiday pay is crucial in ensuring exploitative practices are not repeated across the industry.

“The charter will raise standards and formalise much of the good work that exists within construction. We are supportive of collaborative approaches such as this which protect workers.”

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